by Heidi Riley
The MacLeod Group was founded in 1984 and now operates in the three Maritime provinces. The company has more than 1,000 employees, and cares for about 640 seniors living in 12 different communities.
On PEI, the MacLeod South Shore Villa Retirement and Nursing Home in Crapaud offers a mix of independent living, community care, respite care, and long-term care services for up to 71 residents.
The MacLeod Clinton View Lodge near Kensington provides community care, respite care and long-term care services for up to 63 residents.
There are about 50 staff members at each site on PEI. There is a wide range of staff titles, including:
- Registered Nurses (RNs)
- Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
- Resident Care Workers (RCWs)
- Resident Support Workers (RSWs)
- Dietary Aides
- Maintenance Workers
- Therapeutic Recreational Program Workers
- Administrative Assistant
- Each facility has a Director and a Support Services Manager.
Positions in demand and hardest to fill
“Right now, we are facing a national shortage of Registered Nurses, and that is the hardest role we have to fill,” says Lindsay Ross, Recruitment & Retention Manager. “It is very competitive, and it is definitely job seekers’ market. RCW roles are also hard to fill.”
“We have noticed a change recently,” says Doug Stephens, General Manager of Operations and HR for MacLeod Group Health Services. “It has always been a challenge to recruit RNs and LPNs on PEI and across the nation. But we are starting to struggle to fill occupations such as Cooks and Housekeepers, which has never been an issue before. The workforce has definitely shrunk.
“Right now, because of COVID-19, there may be some reluctance to work in nursing homes. That should not deter someone from applying. We take issues of staff safety and infection control measures seriously in an effort to provide a safe work environment for our employees.
“Our homes are in rural areas of the Maritimes, and the population in those areas is becoming older. Small rural communities are struggling to hold on to people of workforce age.
“We have done reviews to make sure we are in line with the pay and benefits other facilities are offering. We offer competitive wages and benefits, including medical, health, dental and pension plans. The benefits we offer are fairly significant and make us stand out as an employer.”
Some positions such as RNs and LPNs and RCWs need to be licensed and/or certified. “For the RSW role, certification is not required. We look for someone with a desire and passion to work with seniors and who may have some work history in a care role such as a daycare, providing private home care, or a stay-at-home mom with transferrable skills,” says Doug.
“For Cooks, we would ideally look for someone with formal training in that area, but if they have a passion for cooking, previous cooking experience, and a good sense of organization, we would definitely consider them.”
In-house training for Resident Support Workers (RSWs)
RCWs have had community college training and are certified caregivers. “We also hire RSWs who have had some general background and experience caring for someone and meet some of our core competencies including teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking skills,” says Doug.
“We provide them with enhanced in-house training, and within the first year of employment, we would work with them to reach the level of core competency of a Resident Care Worker.”
“One of our best recruitment tools is other staff members,” says Lindsay. “If you know someone who works for MacLeod Care, ask them to pass your resumé on to us.”
“In the cover letter or during the interview, be ready to demonstrate how our company goals align with your personal goals, and that you have the transferrable skills to do the job,” says Lindsay.
“I will reach out to applicants and set up an initial telephone interview, and then there will be a second phone interview with myself and the manager of the department. Then I would call references. Applicants also need to pass a vulnerable sector check. I then pass on the names to the department managers, who set up an orientation.”
“Providing an immunization record is also a requirement,” says Doug.
“Many positions start as part-time, but typically new hires are offered full-time hours,” says Lindsay.
“We look internally to fill many open positions, and new openings are created as people move up or within the organization. Some work their way to management positions. For example, at one of our Nova Scotia sites, one of our staff members started out as an LPN and is now a Support Services Manager.”
“Working at a seniors’ residence involves is a lot of learning,” says Doug. “Once you get over the unfamiliarity of the job, it is also a lot of fun. Seniors have a lot of history and knowledge and you can have great enjoyment on the job, sharing memories and even singing along with them.”
For more about MacLeod Group, visit www.macleodcares.com